The reason for the iPod's success is simple - it came along at the right time and was damn easy to use.
In 2002, the world was rapidly “digitizing”: people bought camcorders and digital cameras, listened to music from CD-players and watched films from discs. The center of it all has almost always been the computer. And it was the interaction with the computer, simple and convenient, that later became the factor that allowed the iPod to change the world. The iPod was not the first mp3 player, but it was the first mp3 player to be taken seriously.
Though not immediately: the first iPod was introduced in 2001 and was promoted under the slogan “1000 songs in your pocket”. It is based on a prototype of a compact but capacious Toshiba media. The Japanese invented it, but did not know what to do with it, so they were only happy to sell them to Apple, which at that time almost lost hope of creating something that would be very different from the terrible "empatresses" of that time. And so the iPod was born: a small digital player with five gigabytes of memory, a small black-and-white screen and mechanical control buttons built in the shape of a wheel (the idea, according to legend, belongs to Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing guru).
First iPod © Apple press archive
According to the "tradition" of Apple, the new device of the company was received with hostility. Mainly for two reasons: it cost $ 400 and worked exclusively with Apple computers. No iPod while you're on Windows, plebeian. The name of the player also got it: the spiteful critics immediately "decoded" it as "I Prefer Owning Disc" - "I'd rather buy discs."
But already in the first version the main idea of the player was partially implemented - synchronization with a computer. The process of transferring music to the player was at that time as simple as possible: they opened iTunes, threw in all the songs that they needed, pressed the “Sync” button, and that's it. No CD burns or dances with CD drives.
The iPod became a real hit in sales only two years later - with the release of the iPod 3. The reason is simple - then iTunes came out on Windows and it was finally possible for PC users to synchronize the player. As a result, two million iPods were sold in the world in 2003 - the first two generations reached the 400 thousand mark in twenty-four months.
iPod 3 © Apple Press Archive
The huge success factor, and indeed the most important thing the iPod has done for the industry and the world, has been the popularization of digital music stores. Jobs believed that people don't buy music not because they feel sorry for money, but because they are uncomfortable. It is much easier to download a new album from the network in a couple of hours (the Internet in those days was not the fastest) than to go to the store and buy a copy-protected disc there, which you can listen to exclusively on your CD-player.
There were no security systems in the iTunes Store - you just pressed a button, the money was debited from the card, and the song "fell" into the iPod. Jobs was right - in 2003, the ten millionth song was downloaded from Apple 's digital store. This system still works.
At the same time, a cult began to form around the iPod: white headphones became the most recognizable in the world, which is actively used in advertising.
And Oprah Winfrey, the TV presenter who was called by many as "the most powerful woman in the United States," in her program includes the Apple player in her list of "favorite things", automatically increasing the popularity of the iPod with women.
In January 2004, Apple introduced the iPod mini - a smaller version of its player, 4 gigabytes, and even in five colors. It was controlled by a touch wheel, on four sides of which there were mechanical buttons. Such a scheme will be relevant in many future iPods, including the iPod 4 presented in the summer of the same year.
iPod mini © Apple Press Archive
With him, Jobs gets on the cover of American Newsweek. In this issue, the magazine proclaims Americans an “iPod nation”. There are already 10 million iPods sold worldwide. 100 million songs downloaded from iTunes.
In 2005, another iPod model was released - the shuffle. It was positioned as the most compact Apple player, and, for example, there was no screen at all. However, the first s huffle was the most similar to a TV remote control and did not differ in particularly modest dimensions. The second model, which came out later, became popular, as always, and was really tiny.
iPod Shuffle © Apple Press Archive
In the same year, Steve suddenly "kills" iPod mini, and the latter is replaced by the iPod nano - a smaller version of a smaller version of the iPod. Color screen (you can watch photos and play games), two colors - white and black, 2 or 4 gigabytes of memory - nano was a hit.
It was followed by the iPod 5, and by the end of the year Apple reported 42 million players sold. Even George W. Bush had an iPod.
iPod Nano © Apple Press Archive
In 2006, the billionth song was downloaded from iTunes, and Apple released the iPod nano 6 in aluminum and in six colors, as well as a metal shuffle with a clothespin for easy attachment to clothes.
The year 2007 was the culmination of the iPod 's development, and it also marked the end of the era of this player. In January, Steve Jobs gave perhaps his best presentation in his life and unveiled the iPhone - a touchscreen smartphone and iPod killer in combination.
iPod Touch © Apple Press Archive
In the same year, the iPod touch was released - "like an iPhone, only you can't call." But it was possible to “touch the music with your hands”. And along with it - the iPod classic, the only iPod on the hard drive, the capacity of which was an impressive 80 and 160 gigabytes. By the end of 2007, Apple had sold 141 million iPods.
Sales of Apple players continued to grow in the following years, but over time, iPhones and other smartphones gradually pushed the iPod out of users' pockets. The latest iPods to date are fifth generation touch (2015), seventh nano (2012) and fourth generation shuffle (2010).
Whether Apple will update its player lineup further remains to be seen. However, given the huge iPhone sales, it doesn't make much sense.
The era of digital players has come to an end - from the most popular consumer devices, they have evolved into a niche entertainment for audiophiles.
The iPod came along at the right time - but that time is gone.>